Tonight, my son will attend his very-last law school class. He plans to take the bar exam in July.
Those two sentences don’t begin to encompass the work that has gone on to reach tonight. For the past few years (I don’t even remember when he started…1990?) my son attended night classes at Western New England University School of Law. Before that, he graduated from University of Colorado at Boulder, then he earned a certificate for study at Hartford Seminary, and got a master’s of legal administration from University of Denver.
For all his degrees and accomplishments, I always thought he should be a lawyer, because as soon as he could speak, he was charting out his arguments for why things should go his way. I am not kidding. It was impressive, if sometimes maddening to have to wade through the logic of a 4-year old intent on having a new action figure, and here is why. I remember standing in a store once while he ticked off on his chubby little fingers the reason the latest Teenage Ninja Turtle needed to come home with us. (I was a single mother. I was broke. I bet I bought it for him, anyway.)
Today, my son got up before dawn, briefly hung out with one of the kids (usually, his youngest son gets up to see his father before school). He packed a lunch, drove 45 minutes to work in Connecticut’s judicial system. He left to attend tonight’s class, and then he’ll drive home long after most of the family has gone to bed — except tonight he won’t have to stay up to read or write papers.
On the home front, he’s had furnace trouble (a continual issue is New England). Two of the kids came down with bad colds. One of his wife’s aunts was hospitalized. And that’s just this week.
And still he’s stuck to it.
This is where I get corny: One of the biggest secrets of his success has been his wife, my beautiful daughter-in-law, Xiomara. She has essentially been a single mother four nights of every week during this long stint in school — and she’s sometimes been a single mother on the weekends, as well, when papers needed to be written, and case law needed to be read. This is a family with seven children — five from my daughter-in-law’s first marriage, and two from this one. Let that sink in a minute. My daughter-in-law had five children (including a set of identical triplets, who are now beautiful 15-year olds), and then lost her first husband to a drunk driver. My son came along, they married, and after much discussion decided to have a child together, only she had twins. Five. Then two. Seven — all on her those many nights when her husband was off getting his law degree. She has served as an ear, and as a heart as he pushed through.
When my son graduates, I’ve suggested he hand the degree to his wife. As much as he’s done the classwork, she’s done the homework. I am so very proud.